The Four Key Trends Driving Data Center Innovation in 2024

The Four Key Trends Driving Data Center Innovation in 2024
The Four Key Trends Driving Data Center Innovation in 2024

By: Marc Caiola, nVent

The data center industry is expanding rapidly. As we navigate 2024, several trends are shaping the way data centers operate and the solutions data center managers need to stay competitive. Here are four key trends for 2024.

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Trend 1: Managing High Heat Loads from Next-Generation IT Equipment

As has been the trend for the last several years, one of the biggest challenges facing data centers is managing the high heat loads generated by next-generation IT equipment, including AI and machine learning applications. These technologies require a significant amount of processing power, which generates a large amount of heat. This shift is not new to data center operators, who have been dealing with rising heat loads from increased data demand from content streaming, cloud computing and more for years.

Traditional air-cooling methods are quickly becoming outdated for managing these high heat loads. If data center managers do not shift their approach, they may see reduced performance and even equipment failure. Precision liquid cooling solutions can provide significantly higher cooling efficiency compared to traditional air-cooling methods. These innovative cooling solutions enable data centers to safely and efficiently deploy next-generation technologies while achieving energy efficiency requirements. Even for data centers that are not ready to make the jump into full facility-level liquid cooling, there are solutions available to take advantage of the efficiencies of this cutting-edge technology.

Trend 2: Operating More Sustainably

Another trend in the data center industry is the need to operate more sustainably. As data center demand rises, determining how to power data centers is becoming just as big of a conversation as where they should be built. As large energy users, there is increasing global focus on technologies that help data centers reduce their carbon footprint. This includes not only reducing energy consumption, but also minimizing waste and using renewable energy sources.

Data center planners need to consider on-site renewable energy generation to help offset power demands of the local grid, reduce carbon footprint and control energy costs. Understanding power use is also critical; data center technologies like intelligent power distribution can monitor power usage and provide alerts in the event of power surges or other issues. These solutions also add resiliency to critical systems by helping keep them safe from natural and manmade disruptions.

Trend 3: Adopting Modular and Scalable Solutions

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Modularity and scalability are also becoming increasingly important as data center demand shifts and expands. Data centers need to be able to quickly and easily adapt to changing needs, whether that means adding more capacity, deploying new technologies, or expanding to new locations. Utilizing adaptable, modular, and scalable standard product platforms for networking, data center, and communications applications is critical to building scalable data centers.

When making upgrades to facilities or constructing new ones, data center managers need to design for modularity, allowing them to scale operations as demand increases. If data centers build to the capabilities required today, they will quickly find themselves conducting rework and further developments as technology changes.

The need for modularity applies to both facility and rack-level infrastructure. Data center managers should preserve the ability to add additional racks or equipment within existing building infrastructure to scale with rapidly increasing demand. As cooling technology continues to improve, data centers may be able to fill empty space on racks with more equipment, but cabling and power distribution must then also be designed with a scalable architecture in mind.

Trend 4: Increasing the Use of Automation and Artificial Intelligence

As data centers continue to grow in size and complexity, the need for automated solutions to manage and optimize their operations is becoming more important. While data center managers will always play a key role, relying on some of the technologies that data centers themselves are helping create can help managers find new ways of operating. This includes using AI and machine learning to discover efficiencies, reduce downtime and optimize resource usage. In 2024, data centers will need to adopt solutions that use AI and machine learning to automate tasks such as remote monitoring, maintenance alerts and cooling and power resource allocation.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, 2024 will be an exciting year for the data center industry. We are only just scratching the surface of the capabilities of AI, machine learning and high-performance computing. Data center managers need to look for a partner that can help them prepare for all the trends outlined in this article, including precision liquid cooling, energy-efficient power distribution, modular and scalable product platforms, edge computing solutions, and automation and AI solutions. By adopting these solutions, data centers can stay competitive and meet the changing needs of the industry while improving energy efficiency, resiliency, and customer productivity.

Author Bio:

Marc Caiola is the VP of Data Cooling and Networking at nVent (https://nvent.com).  Marc has over 30 years of technology and business leadership experience in Defense and ICT-Data and Communications Industries.  Prior to joining nVent in 2018, Marc served in various marketing leadership roles within the Enclosures Strategic Business Unit at Pentair from 2007, and various leadership roles at Greco Systems, All Optical Networks and Comp Optics from 1996-2007.  Marc served for 10 years in the United States Navy before entering the private sector in 1996.  Marc holds electronics and computer science diplomas from the Chester County Technical College and United States Naval Training Center, a B.S. Business/Marketing from the University of Phoenix, and he completed executive development coursework from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.   

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